Riot Regeneration in Tottenham
25 March 2015 by James Bird
In 1985 Tottenham, North London witnessed riots on the Broadwater Farm Estate where the violence culminated in the death of a police officer. In August 2011, Tottenham was home to more rioting as Mark Duggan was shot by police. Since then, there have been continuous talks of regenerating the area with reports such as “It Took Another Riot” commissioned to focus on this task. Now though it looks as though things are finally going to progress.
So far the improvements brought to the area have been limited. Whilst there has not been any large scale new development so far, there have been some changes made. Public spaces have been improved, new traffic systems are in force in some areas, a shop front re-vamp scheme has been piloted in Tottenham High Road and a small area of new housing has been built around Tottenham Hale Station in the east. It is further expected that developers Argent and investment managers Hermes Real Estate are to enter a joint venture to build a further 2,000 homes near the station. The two companies are already working in partnership Birmingham City Council to regenerate Paradise Circus in Birmingham city centre.
The Physical Development Framework by the planning and design consultants Arup have stated that by 2025 they intend to have created “more than 10,000 new high-quality homes and 5,000 new jobs, with almost a million square feet of employment and commercial space added”. This vision is shared by many including the leader of the Haringey Council, Claire Kober and the council’s member for housing and regeneration, Alan Strickland. Over the last few years both of them have been to Cannes for the property trade fair MIPIM in an attempt to bring new investors to Tottenham. Many have seen this as controversial simply selling off chunks of city to developers and there have even been protests at the fair.
However whilst many from outside of Tottenham could only see this regeneration proposal as a good thing, there are some who share a different view. Despite the intention of the council to improve the area and quality of life, locals are raising objections. Many are arguing that the social housing which is so prominent in the area is being replaced with mixed tenure (a combination of homes for outright purchase, shared ownership, private rent, “affordable rent” and social housing). There is also dispute over trying to attract more chain stores and larger shops that will push out the local independent ones which are present. This will then result in Tottenham losing some of its character which distinguishes it from the rest of London.
Clearly there is a strong case for Tottenham to be regenerated, especially so soon after the riots where the damage is still fresh in the minds of most, but whether there can be a proposal which everyone agrees with is yet to be seen. Despite this, it cannot be disputed that with such large scale regeneration to the area, it will be a very attractive investment for developers.